Educational Theory and Approach
The K-12 English as a Second Language (ESL) Program of the Pequea Valley School District provides students with a planned program of ESL to facilitate the acquisition of English language skills and provide an instructional program appropriate to the student's developmental and instructional level. Students eligible for the program (a) have acquired a language other than English as their first language, (b) come from a home where a language other than English is spoken (c) and/or speak with family and peers in a language other than English. They also have an English language proficiency level below that of their peers. To meet this goal, the curriculum instruction addresses the PA Core Standards for Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening and the TESOL Standards for English.
Plan of Action/Educational Goals
The program addresses two components in language acquisition: the acculturation and basic survival skills needed by newcomers to the language and the academic support necessary for their continued success in the regular content area subjects. The underlying objective of the newcomer curriculum is to provide a source of support as the student seeks to adapt to his/her new culture and academic setting. Emphasis is on the survival skills needed for basic interpersonal communication skills (BICS) and acculturation. For students who have moved beyond the need for basic communication skills, the curriculum addresses more cognitive and academic language proficiency (CALP). All teachers work to individualize instruction appropriate to each student’s needs.
It is the goal of the ESL program to provide instruction and support for the ELL student for as long as it takes to reach the level of English proficiency required for success in the academic setting and in life beyond formal schooling. Lessons are centered on reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. Students are assessed yearly with the WIDA ACCESS exam. This is the designated state-mandated assessment to monitor language growth.
The elementary program (grades K-6) is a combination of pull-out instruction and team teaching in the regular classroom. At the secondary level (grades 7-12), the program is based on the needs of each individual student. Some students may receive pull-out English instruction while other students may participate in regular English classes and receive language acquisition support for all subject areas. At the elementary level, students meet one-on-one with the teacher or in small groups, depending on their grade and proficiency level, to work on English language skills. At both levels, a variety of materials are utilized for instruction including ESL texts, picture dictionaries, literature anthologies and language or grammar books. Effort is made to expose English Language Learners (ELL) students to computer technology.